photo by author

In the beginning, we stocked up. As stay-at-home orders came down and liquor stores were deemed “essential services,” we bought so much alcohol that off-site sales volumes shot as high as 55 percent above normal. To stanch the bleeding of restaurants and bars — and keep us safely distanced from one another — local and state governments relaxed long-standing alcohol regulations. Curbside pick-up, drive-in windows, home delivery, and other easy ways to buy alcohol proliferated, while sales at grocery and liquor stores also remained high, with overall sales volumes settling at 20 to 30 percent above last year’s figures.[1]

Meanwhile…


The television show Intervention, returning for its 20th season next month, might need an intervention itself.

A man injects heroin, screenshot by author, image manipulated with Deep Dream Generator.

In the age before television, people looked for entertainment in some strange places. One was psychiatric hospitals, which came into vogue when the famous London hospital known as Bedlam opened its doors to visitors in the 16th century. The official reason for asylum tourism was moral improvement: witnessing the misery of “lunatics” was supposed to show people the fate that awaited them if they over-indulged in vice or emotional excess. Those who didn’t need to be scared sober would gain by feeling sympathy for…


I was confused. A few years ago the liberal media had seemed on board for cannabis legalization, yet I began seeing more and more articles warning of a stoner apocalypse. One New York Times essay asked whether cannabis addiction would spike the way alcohol addiction did after passage of the Twenty-First Amendment, when “the country almost drank itself off the rails.” Off the rails? In my history books, the country stayed on the rails for the next 40 years, to the dismay of brewers and distillers. Very confusing. I grew more perplexed when a Times columnist opined that politicians eager…


Steinbeck’s line has become famous: “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” But what Steinbeck actually said in 1966 is that every American is “a temporarily embarrassed capitalist.” Steinbeck‘s actual words, from America & Americans, remained fairly obscure until a 2005 paraphrase substituted “millionaire” and began circulating on the left. …

L. S. King

Culture watcher.

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